Friday, December 16, 2011

Twelve Ways of this Business













Mixin’ it up a little on this Moving Thoughts Friday. Had a little fun with this and posted it over at the Alley yesterday. In case you missed it…



The Twelve Ways of this Business


On the first day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… partridge (partial title of one of my novels) in a contract…wee! (Just playin’. No big announcements to share.)


On the second day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… new platform love & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the third day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the fourth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the fifth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the sixth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me…six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the seventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the eighth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me…ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the eleventh day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… eleven editors Skyping, ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love, & partridge in a contract…wee!


On the twelfth day of Christmas, my agent gave to me… twelve bloggers blogging, eleven editors Skyping, ten verbs-a-sleepin’, nine chapters prancing, eight pencils breaking, seven mochas brewing, six tweets-a-sayin’, five cell phone rings, four stalling words, three agency friends, new platform love & partridge in a contract…wee!


Join in & sing your own way of this business

*photos by flickr


**MERRY CHRISTMAS! I'm going on a blogging hiatus for the next few weeks. I'll still be online a little here, there (& well, of course not everywhere).













Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Grace Effect



The Grace Effect: How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief by Larry Alex Taunton piqued my curiosity from the minute I read the back cover blurb. I read it during a two day road trip and found myself reading many paragraphs aloud to my husband.


Taunton’s impressionable and intellectual exploration of the impact an atheist society can have on its people stirred me and prompted me to rouse numerous related conversations.


Throughout the book, I remained engrossed in Taunton’s experience adopting a young Ukrainian girl from an orphanage that didn’t even provide children with toilet paper. Aching with compassion for Sasha, I found myself rooting for the ten-year-old, longing for her to be lovingly cared for and taken away from her current surroundings.


Taunton tackled potentially sensitive subject matter in an intriguing and often humorous way, detailing his personal adoption story, as well as Ukraine’s convoluted corrupt history, in a conjoined, and at times jolting back and forth portrayal.


The injection of grace through authentic Christian living is what appealed most to me in The Grace Effect.


I valued how as an avid debater and Christian apologist, Taunton concluded what I’ve all too often discovered in my own faith—that personal life change is the most radical, grace-filled, and merciful way to experience the impression of God. What a joy to watch as that kind of impression leaves its mark on others.


You know what I really hope? I hope someday I get to read about this story from Sasha’s perspective.


*I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for this honest review

Monday, December 12, 2011

Key Attribute for Strong Novel Writing



The longer I write the more convinced I become one specific quality has the greatest potential to improve my novel writing. But before I get to that, let me throw out a few brief scenarios.


Glimpse:


A shivering man on a bus shoves his way past a red-eyed woman as she clutches the hands of two shoeless children, both wiping away smears of mud from their cheeks.
~
A life support machine falls silent. An intimate crowd of what you guess to be loved ones release tiny tearful noises, but one. One woman (the only one with her eyes open) stands in the corner of the room by the stained curtain, twisting her watch on her wrist and you swear you spy the slightest hint of her upturned lip.
~
“I do,” she whispers as though we can’t all hear—we’re not all watching for this exact moment.


Out of character with his clean-shaven chin, the groom, the man I beat one hundred and seventy-six times at gin rummy, the childhood friend who extracted leeches from my calves until my skin bled, the only one I’ve told about that one locked memory, echoes the unrealistic promise.


I shudder as my oldest friend slides the gold band on her pencil-thin finger. I let out a sigh, making sure it’s louder than a whisper. I intend to be heard.
~


Have I left you in suspense long enough about that one imperative quality?


Empathy.


At heart, I believe every writer is a psychologist. People intrigue us. We wouldn’t write characters if that weren’t the case. With this, I’ve noticed the more empathy I feel toward others, the stronger my writing becomes. Characters take on more layered emotions, more depth, and more authenticity.


Ultimately, empathy impacts every single crucial aspect of novel writing, including two biggies, characterization and motivation.


It’s worthwhile to call upon empathetic feelings for main characters—our likable characters, but also for our antagonists.


Let’s briefly revisit the three above scenarios.


I want to know more about these people and I have questions based on what I’ve read (even though I created these w/in a few minutes time, playing w/ POV, etc.). This is good. Inspiring readers to ask questions is a sure sign you’ve conquered the first step in getting them engaged.


Questions about bus scene:
Why is the man shoving past a woman with kids?
What’s up with the woman’s red eyes?
Why are the kids shoeless and muddy and why are they suddenly wiping the mud off their faces?

~
Questions about hospital scene:
Who died?
Why does everyone in the room have their eyes closed?
Why is the one woman fidgety and potentially smiling?

~
Questions about wedding scene:
What’s up with the immediate sarcasm?
Why is the groom out of character on his wedding?
What has the narrator so riled up? Is it jealousy or what’s the story? And why is she so sure it’s an unrealistic promise?
~


Some of those characters above might turn out to be “the bad guys” but already I care about them. And that is the number one goal for an author—to incite readers to care.


Empathy. Unexpected, huh? But I swear by it. In life. In my choice profession. In fact, I have no doubt I’m drawn to writing novels because of the abundance of opportunities to demonstrate empathy.


As a reader or writer, have you noticed the powerful influence of empathy in a work? Can you tell when it’s absent? What say you about empathy being one of the best resources for novel writers?

*photo by flickr
**All “I”s are on somebody. Come see who in about an hour here!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday



















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.






It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.











Weathered antique or spring chicken?



*photos by flickr

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Word-woven Nest

Nathan Bransford wrote an excellent post on networking recently that homed in on my perspective of establishing contacts in and outside the publishing industry.


He advised people to view networking more as an opportunity to invest in friendships. He also raised a worthwhile point—the value of building something.


Of course that led me to evaluate what I’m building here at ~thoughts that move~, and on my FB writer page, and on Twitter…etc.


It didn’t take me long to come up with that answer.


I’m building a safe place for (primarily) women to engage in stimulating conversation.


And of course that led me to wonder what my answer entails. Well, on this I 8 Wednesday, I’m going to flesh out what’s involved in building the word-woven nest…


8 Unique Aspects I’m Intentionally Building:


Nonjudgmental Atmosphere
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I don’t comment on Fridays. I want anyone who comments to feel entirely free to write whatever comes to mind. I don’t want my input to sway any thoughts or lead anyone to answer a certain way. Every single day I learn more and more about how it’s not my place to judge. I want that to come across loud and clear here and anywhere else my thoughts travel.


Dialogue about Books, Writing, Reading
No surprise here. I heart books. I heart writing. I heart reading. So, yep, I plan to shake up conversation about all three. As a women’s fiction author (writer...take your pick), novels are of particular interest to me.


Vulnerable Approach
I’ve lived through a lot. So have you. U2 sings, “There’s nothing you can throw at me that I haven’t already heard.” I live vulnerably because I have nothing to hide. Open book here, peeps.


Vision to Poke & Stir Thoughts
My thoughts move. River fast. I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who appreciates growing mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. (Done growing physically. Hear that, Snickers?)


Open-minded Environment
I don’t know everything. I could squeeze a lesson out of a rock. And instead of squeezing, I’d just have to touch it. My sensory aptitude is permanently heightened. Must have been dropped on my head as a kid. Either way, it inspires me to keep an open mind.


Invite Friends & Strangers Mentality
All are welcome here. While I focus a lot of my energy on bantering with women, I want everyone to feel welcome.


*I will, however, turn you away at the door if you offer only rudeness, inappropriateness, or hurtful comments.


Discussion of Relatable and Relevant Issues for Women
As previously stated, women are my audience. I appeal to you. I pay attention to what personally grabs me as a woman and I write about it, hoping you’ll be inspired, moved to action, or simply moved to think.




A Faith-based Worldview (this shows up organically)
I’m a believer so you’ll see God’s face here. Sometimes I go back over my posts and think, what do you know, He showed up again. He’s good like that.


Have you been intentional about what you are building? What are you building and what’s involved in the weaving?


*photos by flickr

Monday, December 5, 2011

Reaching for Blankets



One of my favorite roles as a mom is tucking my girls into bed. I love pulling their blankets high up to their necks, snuggling with them, saying prayers, and shutting off the light. It settles me knowing I’ve left them in a peaceful state.


However, some mornings I walk in their rooms only to find them shivering with their blankets kicked beyond their reach.


It’s this exact image that comes to mind when I think of seasons of life when I’ve forgotten to reach for my own blankets. There are a handful of trusted resources I count on when I want to be in a place of contentment and calm.


Reading, Writing, and not so much Arithmetic
I feel like I come more into myself when I’m reading and writing. I’m at home doing both of these activities and if I’ve gone for long enough not allotting time for one or the other, an anxiousness builds inside me, a visceral ache for words.


Exercise, Water, and not Noshing
Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it—that I would find rest and tranquility in the above? It’s not entirely in the workout or the chugging water or even in the restraint it takes not to throw back seven of those super mini Snickers, justifying it’s equal to a bar. The calm comes after the storm. After I sweat a rain forest and pound thunderously on our treadmill. Exercise has always been one of my most effective ways of righting my mind.


Friend Connections
It’s hard for me to put into words the value of friendships in my life. I’ve been bolstered and encouraged by dear women more times than I can count. And there’s simply nothing like the kind of soda-spewing laughter that trusted friends incite. Effervescence at its best!


Time to Chill
Me time. Say what? What’s that? I hear ya, and I know. When I’ve neglected to slow down and take a few minutes (ah, an hour…what I wouldn’t give for a solid hour) I’m more frazzled, quicker to snap, and I shiver at how fast my thoughts turn cold.


Prayer
Saved the most intimate for last. It changes me. Throwing up words or a call for help to God changes me. It’s a show of trust. It’s an act of humility. It’s demonstrative of my desire to connect. When I’ve communed with God it filters through every aspect of my life.


I forget to reach for these physical and emotional blankets in my life sometimes and I’m left in a vulnerable fetal position wondering how I got to such an unattended state. I simply neglected to reach for the blankets already in my life.


Do you ever forget to reach for the blankets? What are your blankets and what helps remind you to reach for them?



*All "I"s are on _________ here later today. Come check it out!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.








You’re stranded on a deserted island with a television that’s unable to be turned off (yeah, I know, so realistic). Would you rather have The Jersey Shore or Keeping Up with the Kardashians airing 24/7 (and no, there is no way to drown, destroy, detonate, or silence the TV)?













*photos by flickr

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Many Faces of Jealousy (Part Two)



Growing up, my older sister’s soccer skills put mine to shame. I spent a good deal of my elementary and middle school years silently jealous of her talent and the attention she received because of it. That is until I finally learned the best way to manhandle the emerald-eyed beast.


Time after time I’ve come to understand the best way for me to deal with jealous feelings is to grow even thicker inside my own skin. What the heck does that mean? I’m all about the Gotta Be Me Grin. Whenever I feel even the slightest hint of envy bubbling up from within, I go into power drive to fight it, and I remind myself to stay the course on my own unique path.


You might be wondering what I did…about the whole soccer deal. Ashley was All-American numerous times, earning a full scholarship to college. She met Pele (see doohickey over last e). She even played against Mia Hamm in a final four college tournament. She shined. I quit. After eighth grade I decided to stop following in her shadow and I tried dance instead. Well folks, let me just tell you I move to my own rhythm. And because of this I was positioned back row, corner. Dance wasn’t it for me. But I kept searching to find my niche. In the search I discovered I’m one determined mother (well, that came later) with a predilection toward resiliency.


I get jealous in this industry sometimes, too. But I took notes from my youth. I fight it with the grin—The Gotta Be Me Grin.


Here are some other faces of jealousy without its mask:


Pity Me Pout
This one is so easy to fall prey to. The whole woe is me mentality. “I’m not as good as Perfect Patty.” Newsflash…Patty ain’t perfect and no, you’re not as good as her. Because, Pity Me, you aren’t meant to be Patty.


I Gotta Be Me Grin
This one is my favorite face to form to combat jealousy’s jaundiced glow. This is when we decide to celebrate others while growing in confidence in who we are, where we are, what we are doing, and why we’re here.


Protective Possum Pose
Shut down mode. Possum buries the treasures, the extraordinarily traits and talents meant to be offered only because PPP believes the lie that she doesn’t measure up. How can she measure up to anything when she flings herself under the dirt to hide?


Copycat Calculated Wink
It’s a detriment to ourselves and others when we wink away copycat style. We aren’t meant to be them. They aren’t meant to be us. Emulating to a point of copying insults both the copied and the copier.


Blabbering Blubberer
The Blabbering Blubberer runs his mouth desperate for attention, be it positive or negative. In a fitful and desperate cry to be noticed, BB flails and squawks in attempt to avert focus from the jealous party. More often than not BB ends up looking like a bumbling peacock with a cockatoo bleat.


Bitter Overbite
Unaddressed, jealousy festers. It can turn your heart cold, altering the climate of your affection and generosity. Unexplored, thoughts of this nature can crowd and tangle like an impassable jungle. This massive overbite of bitterness is bound to bite you back.


Self-doubting Shy Guy
Seesaw brain. So subtle this one is (so Yoda I love to be). Waffle and waver. Stew and simmer. The gumption is gone. Risk-taking extinguished, the light in Shy Guy’s eyes has dimmed. He’s allowed the beast to win, claiming the landscape of his face—of his whole demeanor.


Sneering Slanderer
This is the “I can’t win, so I’ll just bring ‘em down with me” mentality. It reveals great weakness of character and a gaping lack of humility. Bad mouth the person I’m jealous of and maybe I can tarnish their reputation. Odds are Sneering is the one who’ll feel the hurt on this one.


How do you unmask and fight some of the faces above? Can you think of any other faces that have helped you slay the emerald-eyed beast?


*photo by flickr
**Oh, and I’m still dancing to my own rhythm!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Many Faces of Jealousy (Part One)

Jealousy. We all feel it. The writing industry is ripe with opportunities to become jealous. I’ve bumped into plenty of posts that have addressed ol’ emerald eyes, but I plan to shed light on something I haven’t come across—jealousy sprung to action. Jealousy without its mask.


In a two part exploration, I intend to delve right into the heart (or should I say face?) of this prevalent beast. I’m going to detail common ways people behave when jealousy has got their tongue.


Pity Me Pout
I Gotta Be Me Grin
Protective Possum Pose
Copycat Calculated Wink
Blabbering Blubberer
Bitter Overbite
Self-doubting Shy Guy
Sneering Slanderer


On Wednesday, I’ll decode the eight faces above. We’ll unmask this beast together. I hope you’ll join me.


(As a side, I discuss topics like this not only because human behavior fascinates me to no end, but because such knowledge helps me better understand my characters…and let’s be honest here, myself better.)


*Excited to share who All “I”s are on today! (mid-morning)
**photo by flickr

Friday, November 18, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday










Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.

It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.






This is my 500th post!



In honor of that I’d like you to finish this…














I’d like to be surrounded by 500 ____________________.








*photos by flickr
**I will be offline during most of next week. Happy Thanksgiving!

***I’m loving the dialogue so far on my Facebook writer page. Please come join the conversation!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lisa Jordan's Time to Shine

When I was a new writer dabbling in fiction, the most common bit of advice I heard was “Write what you know.” So what did I know?



Small towns…check.

Romance…check.

Marine Corps…check.

Police…check.

Fear…check check.


When I married my husband, he was a military policeman in the U.S.M.C. Upon his discharge, he wanted to be a civilian cop like his dad. At first I thought it was really cool. But closer to his discharge date, anxiety gripped my windpipe. The thought of something happening to him made my blood run cold. I did something I’ve regretted ever since—I begged him to give up his dream.


All of those elements planted a seed for my first novel idea.


As a beginning writer, my novel grew out of control with head hopping, telling instead of showing, passive sentences—it needed to be weeded and pruned.

One major change I had to make was to give my hero a flaw. Stephen was too perfect. So I gave him a past. Something was still missing. I asked My Book Therapy dynamic duo Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck to help me brainstorm. After our two-hour phone call, my characters had roots and branched out into a story with depth.


~*~


I’m holding a scavenger hunt and lakeside photo contest to promote my Lakeside Reunion release. Plus, blog commenters on my blog hop will be put in a drawing for fun prizes—breakfast basket, Love Inspired Authors basket, autographed copies of Lakeside Reunion. Visit my Lakeside Reunion Contest page for more information.


The token for this blog is a lakefront.


Bio: Heart, home and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories that feature both comes naturally to her. She has been writing contemporary Christian romance for more than a decade. Her debut novel, Lakeside Reunion, will be released in November by Love Inspired, followed by her second novel, Lakeside Family, in August 2012 by Love Inspired. Happily married for twenty-two years, Lisa and her husband have two young adult sons. When she isn’t writing or caring for children in her in-home childcare business, Lisa enjoys family time, romantic comedies, good books, crafting with friends and feeding her NCIS addiction. Visit her here to learn more about her writing.




Lakeside Reunion: Bed-and-breakfast owner Lindsey Porter prays she won’t run into Stephen Chase when she returns to Shelby Lake. Five years ago, the cop jilted her to marry another woman, and Lindsey fled town. But no sooner does she hit city limits than Stephen pulls her over for a broken taillight. Despite the past, he’s still able to stir up Lindsey’s old feelings for him. Now a widower and single dad, Stephen recognizes a second chance when he sees one. And he’ll do anything to make Lindsey trust in God and take a risk for love—again.




I’m honored to host Lisa Jordan here today. She’s a kindhearted woman and it’s thrilling to celebrate her in her time to shine. Originally this post should have been published weeks ago, but with the power outage and the craziness that followed, Lisa was generous to adjust to the publish date. I hope you check out Lisa’s site and her book!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Whittling a Story Idea



Where do you get your ideas? I’ve been asked that dozens of times. I’ve given it some thought and I’ve decided the best way to answer that query is with an image.


My brain is landscaped with a forest of ideas. (Think Germany’s Black Forest.) Novel sparks branch out on a weekly and sometimes, daily basis. Clearly, I can’t tackle writing fifty books a year, so I’m required to seek out the best sticks—the ones that will endure. The ones that will aid me in telling the best stories.


I gather handfuls of twigs, surveying them for their durability and shape. I examine them, estimating how they’ll turn out after I begin the whittling process. I tune in, as I meander through my thoughts, listening for crackling under my feet or watching until a bird ascends from a branch, triggering a gentle bounce. This process is akin to identifying a glimpse of a character, a snatch of conversation, or a compelling plot concept. I take notes. I pay attention.


Then I put my ideas to the test by cutting them. It takes me months and sometimes as long as a year to slice off the outer bark as I determine what about this particular stick will endure or even if it will endure once it’s been stripped to the core. I’m patient. I’m disciplined. I’m intent on shedding off all the extraneous in order to discover, as I write, the beauty beneath the bark.


And the fresh wooded scent grows more pungent as I work the stick into a story.


Where do you get your ideas?


*Come see who All “I”s are on today here!
**photo by flickr

Friday, November 11, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday



























Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.


It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.


Ode to Neil Young…Hey Hey, My My, is it better to burn out or fade away?











*photos by flickr

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Blogging Basics (As Told from a 50s Mom)



I thought I’d have a little fun with you this I 8 Wednesday. Many of you are experienced bloggers, but I find I still learn tidbits here and there to improve ~ thoughts that move~ and I tweak my website based on my findings. The following might be review for you, but have fun reading, and ingest it as a review with a twist (thanks Chub). Even if you’ve been around this block, swing around one more time as I flashback to the 50s.


50s Mom says:


A little soap and water never killed anyone
I make mistakes. Commas will be the end of me, that’s for sure. But I invest a concerted effort when it comes to checking my spelling and grammar in my posts. I’m a professional, so I work hard to come across that way, even if I’m churning something out the day after I’ve been up all night with a sick kid (like now). I write all my posts in Word and read them over multiple times before posting. I miss a few snafus here and there, but I work hard to offer clean and shiny content.


Turn down that rock ‘n roll
Automatic playlists: Switch them to optional or get rid of them altogether. This one was difficult for me to adjust. I love music. I kept my playlist (bottom right) because music is most certainly a form of expression, however, I’d read one too many posts discouraging the automatic noise when someone clicks on my site. I sucked it up and made the change. All for professionalism.


Wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident
I’ve seen it and I know you’ve come across it. Bitter Betsy feels the right to spew on her blog about Needling Nancy. Watch it. I’m all for vulnerability and authenticity (you’d know that if you’ve hung around this block) but impulsivity can bite you back. What goes online stays online. No take backs. And I know I don’t need to remind you just how powerful words are.


You’ll poke your eye (or somebody’s eye out)
Minimize flashy or distracting images. Tidy up. Keep a clean room. You know the drill.


As long as you live under my roof, you’ll do as I say (someday you’ll thank me for this)
Don’t forget your audience. It benefits you to write with an interactive approach, asking questions, engaging the people you most want to reach. And for Pete’s sakes, get out there and comment on other blogs.


What are you, Elvis? Quit your gyrating.
Content is king. Go somewhere with your blog posts. Think them through. Don’t just oscillate or ramble with your words.


Your face will freeze that way
Get creative with your blog topics. No one says you have to be stuck writing about one thing. But should you choose a single topic, remember there are hundreds of ways to write about…say flowers (currently reading The Language of Flowers where the author proves this. I also know because in one of my novels, The Flower Girls, I had a blast depicting varying aspects of flowers.) Don’t stay frozen and feel stuck with your content.


Watch your hem (this is the one to rebel against)
Moms want it long, but I suggest shooting for 500 words or less (give or take). If you care about your readers, you care about their attention spans and it’s likely they’re reading many other blogs. Rebel and write those short shorts or classy it up with a hoop skirt.


Can you think of anything else 50s mom might say regarding blogging basics?


*photo by flickr

Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving Up to Receive



~ What Eight Days Without Power Taught Me ~


Have you ever been driving and lost all concept of how you got from mile one to mile two? You stay in the zone, eyes focused on the road, but you lack aesthetic (or any) appreciation for the view you’ve just passed.


I feel like I’ve been driving through my life like that lately.


And with the recent snowstorm, my brakes failed and spun my car directly in front of a wooden sign with the words: Scenic View (time to pay attention).


Was the last eight days without power bouncing from a hotel to our house to a dear friend’s home back to our house stressful? Sure it was. But I gained something back in that time. I was reintroduced to a refined sense of my role as a mother, wife, caretaker, and even as a writer.
This forced break was exactly what I needed and I’m not sure I would have taken the time had I not been stripped of power (heat and electricity included).


Here are some comical (and chaotic) ways the storm impacted us:
~I learned that toothpaste can freeze.
~Steve was traveling for four days during the outage so I took action with getting the girls to warm places.
~I now understand the description “swampy eyes” Zusak used for the Standover Man in The Book Thief after spending five nights sleeping in the basement with the temperature reading 45 degrees inside the house.
~Each morning, I sat up anxiously waiting for the pipes to click and churn to life as though the house was in a coma and I willed it to snap out of it.
~My girls played a nice round of musical coughs.
I started my first fire and kept it going for hours. (I will not stop you if you are now clapping.)
~We looked stylish wearing our scarves and hats 24/7.
~All sense of the date and time got entirely whacked out inside my head just in time for Daylight Savings.
~I kept the kids busy and content even as their school was cancelled for the week and they were hopped up on Halloween candy we never did get to hand out.
~Did I mention our downstairs toilet is broken and at night when we had to go to the bathroom (which sadly I have a habit of doing) we had to hike up to the Arctic with a flashlight.
~I know I haven’t mentioned the way I fell in love with the way my kids laugh, how my husband kisses, and how great our neighbors and dear friends were during this time. We were blessed to have neighbors help in small ways and longtime family friends host us for a few nights. We turned those days into a vacation, sightseeing and fine dining on the coast. I was entirely too close to jumping onboard a sailboat (excursions were reasonable in the town we visited) and sailing away with my kiddos.


So what’s the takeaway here—the big shebang?


I can’t tell you how many times I about lost it over the course of the last eight days. But every time I was on the verge, something snared my attention, bringing me back to the beauty of the moment—the blessing of simplicity. And I learned that sometimes we need to lose it to gain it back again. Gain it back with more heft and promise.


Ever been forced to slow down? Tell me about it.

Check out who All “I”s are on today on my FB writer page (should be there by 9:00)!
*photo by flickr

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Hotel-style

Forget that the picture is super small. Forget that I'm in a hotel when I should be trick-or-treating with my kiddos in another state (not happening there b/c of fallen power lines). Forget that my husband and one daughter got smacked by a truck today (they are both okay) and I had to witness the whole nasty collision from a few cars back. Forget that we've been without power for days and I'm feeling like I have no more marbles to lose...I'm alive. I'm here. And I finally got this post in.

Happy Birthday to me! I'll see you when I see you (no idea when power is expected to come back...could be days). Days...ha! (And yes, I will be having wine with my dinner tonight.)

And we will be roaming the halls in our Star Wars costumes. Yes, yes we will! Halloween hotel-style. This is how I roll on my b-day when I've gone w/out power for days.

*photo by flickr

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moving Thoughts Friday



















Every Friday I’m going to ask a question. The questions I choose might be ambiguous on purpose. The goal is to have you answer the question according to your beliefs, where you’re at in life or a circumstance that might have recently impacted you. The only thing I ask is that you provide an explanation for why you answered the way you did.



It’s my hope to understand you better through this and also to gain a greater understanding of humanity and how people make decisions.


I confess, I like the fact my name is in a song. I sing to it (loudly) whenever it comes on the radio. Now who wouldn’t be flattered by lyrics from "The Boss" like these: “Wendy let me in. I wanna be your friend. I want to guard your dreams and visions…Together Wendy we’ll live with the sadness. I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul. Someday girl, I don’t know when, we’re gonna get to that place where we really want to go and we’ll walk in the sun. But ‘til then, tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”



Is your name in a song? Or have you ever been serenaded?




*photos by flickr

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pick a Number…Any Number



ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up (a handful to a now certain one)


math scores (pick any number between 50-100)


high school fundraiser “popularity gauge” candy canes (one year, one, another year, twenty)


invites to attend Homecoming in high school (one year, nine, one year, none)


people I could call close friends (a roomful of rockin’ moms from a church mom’s group I led in Ohio, one old neighbor lady in Georgia)


digits on a scale (in my adulthood, a 30lb spread)


social networking stats on any given site on any given day (changing every day)


moments I’ve trusted in God’s love above what any number could reveal (hoping for an exponential increase on this one)


Numbers are concrete. I’m a novelist. I create imaginary worlds and make believe characters.


Numbers are concrete. More often than not they scare me because they don’t speak to me. They aren’t words. I adore words. Words fill the playground in my brain. I tend to kick numbers to the curb.


However, I’m aware numbers can be valuable at times. In publishing, for example, I’ll want to keep close tabs on how my books are selling. If I notice a lull, I’ll work harder to sell more books. I’ll pay attention to the numbers. I’m not blind to them. I pay attention now, too (sometimes more than I’d like). But numbers also tend mess with me. (Scale anyone?)


There are days I’ll see a number on one of my social networking sites and I’ll feel the lure to compare, but then I remember how much more gratifying it is to compete against myself (and my own current numbers). I remember how passionate I am about uplifting other women, even if that means their numbers get elevated and mine do not. I recall my deep desire to move forward in this industry with integrity, establishing genuine relationships based on something more than a notch on a computer screen. I remember why I’m here and the One whose opinion I care about most.


There will always be someone out there with more significant numbers, whether it’s more candy canes stacked on their desk or more pounds stacked on their hips. Someone with more friends or better scores. We are all created and gifted uniquely. I get so tired of all that weird competitive stuff that goes on between women. So what will I do, the rebel I am…I plan to celebrate the gifts I notice in other women, as I grow in confidence and strength whilst doing my own thang.


Who’s with me on this (because sometimes there really is power in numbers)?


*photo by flickr